LIVE BLOG: Israel military court upholds ruling on Hebron shooting soldier
Shai Ben Ari/i24NEWS
An Israeli military appellate court rejected all appeals made in the case of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter for the fatal shooting of a disarmed and wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron, and upheld the soldier's 18-month prison sentence.
Azaria was convicted of manslaughter in February 2017 after he was caught on film in March 2016 shooting Palestinian terrorist Abdel Fattah al-Sharif as he lay prone and immobilized on the ground after carrying out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.
Azaria's lawyers appealed the conviction in March but faced backlash from the prosecution, which made a separate appeal, asking for a harsher sentence. All appeals were rejected, however, and the soldier's 18-month prison sentence was left intact.
The soldier's conviction has deeply divided Israeli public opinion between those who believe he was wrongly tried and those who say the conviction was the right and proper consequence of his actions.
It also led to strong statements across the Israeli political spectrum, with some politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for him to be pardoned, while others decried the fact that Azaria was prosecuted on a charge of manslaughter rather than murder.
Azaria was released from military prison to house arrest, as his period of mandatory army service came to an end and he awaited a decision from the military court of appeals.
Until his release to house arrest, Azaria served his time in open detention on a military base in central Israel with periodic furloughs home and frequent visits from family members.
Azaria's defense lawyer reportedly wanted the soldier released to his parents' home but with a curfew at sunset so that he could go out during the day.
However the court ordered him into full house arrest with the only exception allowing him to leave the house to attend Sabbath prayer services with his parents.